The Halifax Employers Association (HEA) was founded in 1996 as a successor organization to the Maritime Employers Association (MEA). The Canada Labour Relations Board appointed the HEA as the designated bargaining representative for all the employers of labour engaged in work in the Longshoring Industry in the Port of Halifax. This designation is under Section 34, Part I of the Canada Labour Code.
The MEA was formed for the purpose of negotiating efficient labour agreements on behalf of its members and to develop and maintain positive employer/employee work relations. The HEA was founded for the same purpose with the goal of making the Port of Halifax more competitive in a world of competing routes. While labour relations remains the main focus of the HEA, the Association, on behalf of its members, also oversees and coordinates the training of employees in the Longshore industry in the Port of Halifax. The HEA also provides a broad spectrum of general human resources support and service ranging from hiring and performance management to Human Rights and Employment Equity.
The HEA is a non-profit organization and receives its revenue by collecting assessments on tonnage going through the Port of Halifax. The assessments themselves are comprised of two components. One component represents the collection of Pension and Welfare payments on behalf of unionized employees and the other component is used to cover the operation and administration costs incurred by HEA. There are currently 33 members of the HEA and each member is required to pay an annual membership fee.
A Board of Directors governs the HEA and is selected in accordance with the eligibility requirements contained in the Articles of Association. The Articles contain the rules and by-laws under which the Association operates. Membership in the Association is divided into two categories:
Category I – Owners and/or operators and/or agents of vessels conducting business in the Port of Halifax.
Category II – Employers of labour at the Port of Halifax belonging to unions with whom the Association is the authorized bargaining party.
Those organizations that fall under one or both of these categories are free to apply for membership. The Board of Directors must approve the admission of prospective members.
The staff of the HEA reports to the President and CEO who in turn reports through the Business Committee to the Board of Directors. The President and CEO also acts as Secretary to the Board. Centrally located on the waterfront in downtown Halifax, the offices of the HEA serve not only to house the dedicated administrative and consulting staff of the HEA but also contain the board room where the Board of Directors and other committees of the Board meet, acts as the official record keeping centre, and provides an accessible location for the waterfront workers. The staff of the HEA is responsible for administering the collective agreement between the HEA and the Council of I.L.A. Locals for the Port of Halifax. The Council consists of The Halifax Longshoremen’s Association, Local 269, The Halifax Freight and Steamship Checkers’ Union, Local 1341, and The Halifax Gear Repair and Maintenance Men Local 1825. All are locals of the International Longhsoremen’s Association (I.L.A.).
The HEA believes strongly that the Port of Halifax has a lot to offer the world. This includes certain advantages that cannot be found in other Ports. We are committed to providing our members with the highest quality support and service as it relates to labour relations and human resources management and in so doing help to create an environment conducive to long-term growth, increased productivity and prosperity for all stakeholders.